21 Chibok girls freed in October 2016

A lone schoolgirl abducted from Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has managed to escape, and has been found by Nigeria’s government troops earlier this week, reports the BBC. However, although from the same school as the 276 kidnapped in one night April 14, 2014, she was not one of them, but was kidnapped in a separate incident.

Her return comes in the wake of the release of 82 Chibok girls on 7 May. This followed extended talks involving the Nigerian military, the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The girls were freed in exchange for an undisclosed number (some reports indicate two, others indicate five) Boko Haram commanders.

The girl who was found has now joined the 82 in a rehabilitation centre in the capital Abuja, where they were welcomed by the president shortly after their release.

Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina said: “The president promised that all that is needed to be done to reintegrate them into society will be done. He promised that the presidency will personally supervise their rehabilitation.” There has however been criticism of the fact that almost all the girls had still not met their families a week after their release.

Of 276 girls abducted in April 2014, 106 have been either found or freed so far, including the release of 21 girls in October 2016.

As 57 girls fled immediately, or soon after, the attack, this leaves 112 (or 113) still missing. Earlier this week Boko Haram released a video of a girl saying she did not want to leave because her parents “live in the town of unbelief. We want them to accept Islam”.

Experts who had tracked the treatment of women and girls until the Chibok major incident show there was a pattern of targeted attack on them by militant Islamists in the area dated back to at least 1999.